Neglected Powers

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Last Word Press is proud to announce the release of a new collection of poems from New York poet Erik La Prade.

Erik La Prade is a free-lance journalist, poet and non-fiction writer focusing on art and artists, and an artist of his own merit. He was recently included in Alan Kaufman's Outlaw Bible of American Art (Last Gasp 2016). His previous works of poetry include: Movie Logic (2013), False Confessions (2011), and the   interview series BREAKING THROUGH: Richard Bellamy and the Green Gallery, 1960-1965 (2010).

La Prade brings a sardonic humor to the poems in this collection, while evincing a subtle homage to American literary history. Neglected Powers brims with the forgotten corners of New York and the ghosts of New England, using subtle turns of phrase and the poet's own memories. La Prade himself has said these poems are echoes created by encounters with friends, lovers, buildings and places visited or lived in over many years. They are collected from three previous chapbooks written over a period of about five years, while some have not been published in any collection until now.

Order a copy now from Amazon or from etsy for $12.95 plus shipping, or help a small press/independent bookstore out and order from us directly.

There is a haunting lucidity and a bitter clarity in many of these poems. One can feel the weight in these lines and grasp the elusive thread of history running throughout. In the poem, Incomplete, La Prade gives voice to that indistinct longing:

 

INCOMPLETE

Things are out of order

And familiar objects from my

Past have turned unfamiliar.

I still know where

Pieces are: coffee grains,

Dried soup noodles, apple cores, 

Some things are missing

As new buildings block

The view from my window

And shards of light

Lie on my floor

 

In the poems Midnight Cinemas and Cloud Storage, La Prade recalls a New York that no longer exists but is just around the corner, a less tame city that is somehow more pure and innocent than the 21st century megalopolis of today:

            

              MIDNIGHT CINEMAS

Then, it was midnight showings

Of double features,

Leaving the theater

At four o’clock in the morning,

Stopping to eat franks at a Forty Second

Street Nedick’s stand more ancient

Than the Second World War.

One morning we watched a knife fight

While drinking our sodas.

The streets were threatening

With the thrill of living

On our own, without money.

The sex booths were cheap

But the night life cheaper because

It was free for the viewing.

Now, the buildings are torn down,

Or closed, looking as tired

As the acid-brown pages of 1950s

Confidential magazines in plastic.

 

CLOUD STORAGE

I’m sitting in Bryant Park,

Thinking of the once holy spaces

Where seraphim, cherubim,

And angels existed with birds,

Rainstorms, meteorites, in their

Medieval world-place.

Now, the air is filled with 

Waves of information, moving invisibly,

Just above my head.

I used to think the glamour

Of the city was gone,

But now I’m convinced

It has only moved to another place

Still filled with movies,

Music, a childhood to visit

With the help of satellite maps and old

Addresses. Every day there is 

New and endless information to read on

Things like castles, animals, or jello,

All on my lunch hour,

No matter what the season.

 

But La Prade truly shines in the poems that describe the mundane details of life with irreverent wit. A perfect example of this is the poem Ballad of a Week-end. Slipping into and out of metaphor, La Prade captures again that all-too-human longing for the past buried in old letters, and of the fleeting sense of Time.


 

BALLAD OF A WEEK-END

    I

I remember what you wrote,

As the sound of your voice

Fills the room tonight

With sudden memories.

Your cryptic apologies

Are ridiculous now,

As when you spoke of faults

In the Earth, or an ice age

Alive with controversy:

How slip faults

Would suddenly surface

To cover us in shapeless

Earth, the landscape

Itself moving,

Shaking down the walls

Of our room with the dust of timbers.

“The mind has mountains,” you said,

Quoting Hopkins.  But, when the night

Folded itself into napkins of light,

I still didn’t want to read your letter,

Or, even, clean up the scattered pieces

From the floor, so I left them

Lying in the gray sand of memories.

 

    II

In the bedroom’s fireplace,

The fire that burned Rome

Glows; a red shadow,

Reflected in an old clock’s glass face,

Turning time to a diamond-hard memory.

Nearby, a violin hangs on the wall,

Its broken strings, resembles a crèche angel, imploring us

To repent from our morning lust,

And save ourselves from old faults.

 

    III

Sailing, we drift in a haze of water;

Blue Chinese waves on porcelain.

Fuck your analyst.

I don’t want you to understand me,

Or give me a lecture

On the languages of the senses—

Not while the breeze is cool on my skin

And I can watch you sunbathe nude.

 

 

 

 

 

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